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Barter Players a hit with local Heritage Hall audience

By Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

The 2014 Heritage Hall season opened on Thursday, February 20 with several performances by the talented Barter Players. During the day, the Barter Players performed the Hans Christian Andersen classis, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” for elementary children throughout Johnson County. Later that evening, The Barter Players took the Heritage Hall stage again for a performance of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie.”
The Barter Players hail from all over the globe. Their season is spent traveling in a passenger van throughout various parts of the United States to perform at schools and local theaters. The van in which they travel is shared by not only the actors but is also used to transport all of the props for their productions. Because of the need to save space as well as quickly put up and tear down sets, The Barter Players must get creative and creativity is certainly a talent that is in abundance throughout the group.
The stage adaptation of Little House on the Prairie is the story of Laura Ingalls and her family as they travel west in hopes of staking a land claim in the vast and largely unexplored territory. The long journey from “the big woods” of Wisconsin to the prairie is full of trials and tribulations and is only the beginning of the hardships the Ingalls family would endure. After just a year of occupying their hand built cabin, the government forced the Ingalls family to leave due to agreements formed with the Native Americans, whom still occupied the region and were being forced out in droves by settlers.
The Barter Players is made up of Annie Simpson (Laura Ingalls), Natalie Riegel (Mary Ingalls), Sean Michael Flattery (Charles Ingalls), Emily Grove (Caroline Ingalls), Terrance Jackson (Soldat Du Chene, Dr. Tann and supporting roles), and Barrett Guyton (Mr. Edwards, Mr. Scott, and supporting roles). The talented group never seems to miss a beat performing their various roles and they easily transition into character even when performing two different plays in one day.

Heritage Hall has hosted several Barter performances in the past. The Heritage Hall board is extremely grateful to the Barter Players who help bring quality children’s theatre to Johnson County. For many children, watching a professional live performance incites a lifetime love of theatre. Many children leave Barter Players performances thinking, “I wish I could do that” and for budding theatre hopefuls, Barter is offering the chance of a lifetime.
Beginning March 17, Barter Theatre will hold youth workshops at Heritage Hall in Mountain City. The workshops will be broken up by age into four separate groups and will be offered to children from kindergarten to 12th grade. A variety of topics will be covered in the workshops with each class set to give a performance at the end of the eight-week period. The Barter Theatre workshops are taught throughout the region and normally cost $175 per student per session. However, due to a special grant, Johnson County children will only be required to pay $25. If your child is interested in taking part in the Barter Theatre workshops, you may apply online at bartertheatre.com, register by phone at 276-619-3344. All appropriate forms and instructions for the workshops can be found on the Barter Theatre website.
Heritage Hall has many exciting events planned for the 2014 season. If you’ve never attended a performance at Heritage Hall, you’re missing out on quality, affordable, local entertainment. Please support your friends and neighbors and ensure the future of this wonderful theater.